Saturday, September 8, 2012

Threadbias Pincushion Swap and Free Motion Quilting

Picture at Threadbias of their blog colors
Nope, those two things have nothing to do with each other in this particular instance, but Threadbias  is wrapping up a snack mat swap, and starting another for pincushions.   The theme is their blog colors as seen to the right there (obviously I never take photographs that clear...)  I've only done a charm swap so far, I'm a bit nervous about making something for a stranger but at least I know just what pattern I want to use.  Signups are open until September 18th.

On to free motion quilting.  I am not sure why I was so scared of it...wait yes I am - my sewing machine manual said I could do free motion quilting by doing X, Y and Z, and I tried it, and this is what it looked like.  >>>>

I ordered a 1/4" foot and a quilting foot, and the quilting foot was sitting there this last month just taunting me, I really didn't think it would make a difference, I thought it would still be just as  hard to move the fabric, but I was determined to do more than sew straight lines. 

First attempt with the quilting foot
So finally I sucked it up and put on my quilting foot, and was surprised to find that it actually worked.  Of COURSE when you use a regular foot it pins down the fabric so it drags when you try to move it...sheesh. 

After investing 90 seconds in perfecting my FMQ skills... I decided to tackle something more involved.

SewCalGal has apparently been doing a free motion quilting challenge all year (I just subscribed to the blog last month so I just heard of it..not that I was ready to do it until now anyway!)  This month is the Fancy Feather pattern in a 8" block.

The tracing paper I have is horrible, so after tracing I had to do my best to go over it with a FriXion marker so I could see it.  Why did I use such a busy fabric for this first attempt?  Let's chalk it up to naivete, never mind that the pattern doesn't look as good on the vintage sheeting as I thought it would.  I figured I'd use this for a pillow so I didn't put a back on it, so at least the pattern is visible from the back.
Before quilting, After quilting, Back of batting
This didn't really take too long, but this attempt at free motion quilting felt like sitting in rush hour traffic going 5 mph, with your foot hovering midair between the gas and the brake, so just doing this 8" square made my knee hurt, I will have to pace myself.

I am definitely going to use FMQ for my Totally groovy quilt, I have to start researching what would look best with it.  I'd LOVE to do all pebbles (on everything!!!) but apparently that pattern is much more time consuming than some other options.


  1. Ali, for a beginner your quilting looks terrific. Go over to Lea Day's web site and check out her videos. you will learn an incredible amount from her and it is free.

    1. Thank you so much! What a great variety of articles about the different techniques, I'm going to go watch the one on moving a quilt now, I'm a bit nervous about trying anything than a very small item so far!

  2. Very nice....and yes, start with the small items until you get the rhythm down for the movement.

  3. Your 90 seconds perfecting your FMQ skills was well spent, great job!!

  4. wow!!! Well done on your FMQ - it looks fantastic for a beginner. I've yet to try FMQ, hopefully soon... You make it look so easy!

  5. Your block looks great! Are you sure you are a beginner??? I haven't done this yet - machine problems ;(

  6. I sooooo need work on my FMQ. You are brave and it's looking good!

  7. Hi Ali, I get to make a pincushion for you!! and I'm paying you a visit. I love your blog, and laughed out loud, because I get the FMQ and rush hour traffic analogy, that is exactly what it feels like to me also!!Ok..going to check out your great blog. Debbie